Dec 28 2010

Claim Your Business Listing in Google Maps / Google Places

Do you have a small business that you’re trying to get the word out about? A larger company and trying to attract more customers? Claiming your ‘free business listing‘ within Google Maps / Google Places is a great way to get the ball rolling! It’s also great SEO (Search Engine Optimization) value, items worth noting are marked green in this post.

You’ll need a GMail account in order to do this, but don’t worry, this is free too! Nothing better than free marketing for your business or company! :) Once you have a GMail account, log into the Google Places Center and begin by entering your phone number to see if your business has already been listed (See image 1 in slideshow @ bottom of this post).

A. If the business does not exist:

  1. This leads to a page that will require the following input fields be filled out or edited:

    • Country
    • Company/Organization
    • Street Address
    • City/Town
    • State
    • ZIP
    • Main phone
    • Category (great SEO opportunity for better defining the type of business)
      • Google Notes: ‘Categories are ways to classify your business that help Google show your business for the right searches. The Google Places will suggest categories that match what you type, but feel free to create your own if you don’t see a category that fits your business. Make sure that the categories you choose are accurate and describe your business well. It’s ok if they’re specific; Google’s search algorithm makes sure that users looking for a general business type, like ‘book stores,’ will see businesses in more specific categories too.
  2. Optional fields are:

    • Email Address
    • Website (great SEO opportunity for adding a link to your business’s website)
      • Google Notes: ‘list your authoritative business website as your homepage, since Google uses information from your homepage to help improve search results. The URL you provide can be a maximum of 255 characters.
    • Description (great SEO opportunity to add a nice, attractive description for bringing prospective clients to your business)
      • Google Notes: ‘Tell users what makes your business special.
    • Service Areas & Location Settings:
      • No, all customers come to the business location.
      • Yes, this business serves customers at their locations
        • Checkbox for not showing business address on Google Maps
        • Either Distance from business or ZIP/City name can be chosen for areas served. (Choosing either one updates map with a coverage area outline. See example image.)
        • (great SEO opportunity to funnel in local people to your business)
    • Hours of operations (with option of not displaying operating hours)
    • Payment Options (16 different options)
    • Photos
      • (great SEO opportunity to visually appeal to end-users when they initially see your business listing within Google Maps – Separates the business from others also placed on Map – See ex. image for Pizza Hut – Logo suggested at the minimum)
      • Google Notes: ‘Using Picassa or similar image hosting service is recommended‘ – This would also facilitate an easy central updating point if all images were referenced/pulled from a URL rather than an uploaded file.
    • Videos (Need to have been uploaded to YouTube first)
      • (great SEO opportunity if videos are informative – Customer reviews might be good to show here)
    • Additional Details
      • Ex. Parking available, Brands carried, etc.
      • SEO opportunity to list out specific targeted services of your business – See example image)
      • Google Notes: ‘Create custom attributes that allow you to include additional information that you’d like customers to know. For example, you can list what brands you carry, or if your business has parking.

B. If the business does exist: (Verification either via a postcard or phone at end of editing process)

  • Same process as above, but with an added ‘verification‘ step. Expect either an email or phone call (your choice) from Google to verify the business listing. If you are not the person at the listed address or phone number, call or notify somebody that is to give them advance notice.
  • If there are multiple businesses that are being listed, Google offers a bulk loading option. Minimum of 10 listings are required to use this feature and up to 100 listings can be made with one Google Account ID. An excel spreadsheet works for this process (more on this here: http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/static.py?page=guide.cs&guide=28…).
  • If a business is verified by the business owner, a ‘Owner-verfied listing‘ link appears in listing.

Miscellaneous:

  • Listings usually appear after 12 hours.
  • Google adds these items automatically (if available):
    • Reviews
    • Driving/Transportation Directions
  • Listings display across various platforms / devices
    • Desktop (Google Earth), Web Browsers, iPhone & iPad (Google Maps, Google Local, One Box), Smartphones (Mobile Maps, Google Directories), Voice/Mobile Devices (Goog-411, Directory Assistance, Google SMS).
  • Ability to also fix an incorrect marker location on Google Maps is also given when editing.
  • If there are multiple offices at the business location with different phone numbers, you can add more if needed, but one will remain as the ‘main phone’.
  • With a Google Places account comes a ‘Dashboard‘ to track impressions coming from either a ‘Google’ or ‘OneBox’ Search. ‘Actions’ (when ‘users showed interest in your business listing‘) are also displayed along with ‘Top search queries’. Plus ‘Where driving direction requests come from’ info is given. ‘Offers’ such as coupons or specials can also be added to appear alongside you listing in Google Maps. Paid ‘Google Tags’ can also be managed from this Dashboard.

Here are some images to better illustrate this valuable process for marketing your business:

 

Other Valuable Resources:

Or for a detailed PDF of this post, download it for free here: Downloadable PDF for Business Listing Claiming Process in Google Maps.

Chris J. Politzki
Studio 119 Degrees Web Design & Development Studio

 

Posted via email from Chris J Politzki’s Posterous

 


Dec 3 2010

PPC vs. SEO. Which one will prevail?

Great debate over PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for this week’s SEOMoz Whiteboard Friday. Which one to use? Watch the video to decide!

SEOmoz – SEO Software

Posted via email from Chris J Politzki’s Posterous

 


Jul 6 2010

Google Looks at Long Tail Keywords Differently now

People are becoming smarter and smarter when they search online now. Instead of weeding through the search results when performing searches, a more detailed combination of keywords are being entered into their search fields. These are known as long tail keywords and since May 2010, Google is looking at these differently.

An example of a long tail keyword search:

The average person searching at the research phase will use a competitive generic keyword such as “party dress”. Not long after searching and seeing some high prices they will modify their search to something like “cheap party dress.” Now we are already into long tail keyword territory but it can go further. As the search deepens the searcher realizes that pink is the trendy colour at the moment, or pink is what she fancies wearing on her next night out, so then she is using the long tail keyword “cheap pink party dress.”

If you’re interested, read more about it in an article entitled, ‘The Importance Of Long Tail Keywords Since The Last Google Algorithm Update from Site Pro News.

Chris J. Politzki

Studio 119 Degrees Web Design & Development Studio

Posted via email from Chris J Politzki’s Posterous


May 21 2010

Google Pac-Man Feature

google-pacman

Google Pac-Man Feature shown on May 21st, 2010

Everybody Catch the Google Pac-Man Feature Today?

If you didn’t, it’s up for another 48 hours to commemorate the anniversary of the game 30 years ago in Japan. Make sure you don’t just breeze past the initial Google Search screen, which usually updates with a doodle version of the original logo from time to time depending on the holiday, time of year and so forth. Instead, click on the insert coin and play a game of Pac-Man courtesy of Google!

Make sure to share with all you friends and family before this feature is taken down!

Chris J. Politzki

Studio 119 Degrees Web Design & Development Studio


Apr 11 2009

Into the Twittersphere?

I recently found this hilarious clip on YouTube on Twitter and it’s effect on people and thought I’d share.

Enjoy!

Chris J. Politzki
Studio 119 Degrees


Jan 10 2009

Google Web History. Is it the beginnings of ‘Big Brother’?

I recently was describing the Google SearchWiki and thought I’d expand on Google’s crafting of the user’s search experience. Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Hard to tell. I think Google has good intentions, but if this data got into the wrong hands, it could be very dangerous to a person’s privacy and safety on the internet.

So what am I talking about? Let’s start by asking whether or not you have a Google Account or not? This usually consists of having a ‘GMail‘ e-mail address. If you do have a Google Account and perform a Google Search, notice something I’ve circled in the image below.

Notice that the results that are listed have been ‘Customized based on recent search activity’. If you click on ‘More details’, we’ll explore this a bit more. Keep in mind, you must be logged into your gmail account to see this.

Once we click on ‘More details’, the below appears:

Here’s where it’s revealed what’s really happening behind the scenes. Google mentions:

When possible, Google will customize your search results based on location and/or recent search activity. Additionally, when you’re signed in to your Google Account, you may see even more relevant, useful results based on your web history.

Furthermore, they go on to say:

For privacy reasons, this information is only kept for a short period of time.

This is very interesting as they are also concerned with privacy just as I am or you may be after now discovering that ‘Google’ is watching you. Almost very 1984ish, George Orwell-like in my opinion. However, they do go onto to mention:

Web History helps deliver more personalized search results based on the things you’ve searched for on Google and the sites you’ve visited. You might not notice a big impact on your search results early on, but they should steadily improve over time the more you use Web History.

See below:

To keep things even more private, they have asked for my password on my account again. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think early parts of this Web History feature held all these privacy concerns. Seems to me as they either wised-up or had some complaints.

In the google account I made these screen captures for, I hadn’t enabled  Web History and this is necessary to see what kind of information they are tracking. Perhaps in a near future blog I will show this. When you do enable Web History, this is what greets you below:

Then proceeding further, we enable Web History and see:

Notice how January 9th is highlighted in red. This means that there is some information on this day as to what my Web History was. Clicking on it reveals such information as to what I was searching for through Google.

So keep in mind when you are logged into Google, and decide whether or you want them watching you or not.

The question is also what Google will do with this data that they collect. Will they use it to cater results which are most popular overall? Will this kill SEO? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, keep a lookout over your shoulder! ;-)

Chris J. Politzki
Studio 119 Degrees


Nov 25 2008

Google SearchWiki Described

Some of you may have noticed some new buttons / features to your Google search results pages last week. It seems the development team over at Google have decided to allow their users the ability to customize their search pages. This feature is only available when you are logged into Google. Google is calling this their ‘SeachWiki’ feature.

This newly released feature also has the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) world waiting on pins and needles to see where things are headed with the way Google will use this data to craft it’s algorithm to de-emphasize ranking within search result pages when searching with Google. Some are saying that ‘Ranking is Dead’! Follow this previous link to view an interesting interview and article with Bruce Clay and his take on the future of ranking within Google and the importance of traffic. SEOs will now have to rely heavily upon looking at analytics, bounce rate, and traffic.

But I wanted to show everyone the new feature so that everyone can start using this to better cater their search results to themselves. It really does help find that site that used to be on the second or third results page and throwing it to the first page at the top! You can even delete certain listings that you don’t want to see. Obviously, creating a more customized search.

So at first, we’ll do a search for ‘Yellow Pages’ (as I work for one of the local internet yellow page web sites… ;-) ).

SearchWiki-Initial-Search

At first glance, you’ll notice the ‘Up Arrow’ & ‘X’ to the right of the listing. Under that there’s also a ‘Comment Balloon’ icon.

 

Allow me to go briefly over each item here:

SearchWiki-Promote-Button

Above, you will see how the ‘Promote’ button appears once you mouse-over it.

 

Once you click on this ‘Promote’ button it will not only move the listing to the top of the page, but it will also add another field below the listing where data is revealed as to how many people promoted or removed the listing and their Google Account names.

SearchWiki-Promote-Line

 

The ‘Remove’ button functions pretty much in the same way, except that when you click on it the listing disappears from your search results.

SearchWiki-Remove-Button

 

Not only can you promote or remove a listing, but you can also add a comment to remind yourself what you enjoyed about this site, etc. Or you can also allow other Google members to view your comments, which I will describe below.

SearchWiki-Comment-Button

 

What’s really interesting is what appears at the very bottom of the page:

SearchWiki Bottom of Page Line

 

 

There’s a line appearing with ‘Add a result’, ‘See all my SearchWiki notes’, ‘See all notes for this SearchWiki’ & ‘Learn more’ links.

When clicking on the ‘Add a result’ this appears:

SearchWiki Add a result

This allows you to customize your search results page even more by adding a site or page that you feel should be included within these results.

 

Clicking on ‘See all my SearchWiki notes’ reveals:

SearchWiki Comment Line

Clicking on ‘See all notes for this SearchWiki’ also shows your comment, if you left one, or all the comments left by Google users for the ‘Yellow Pages’ search.

 

And finally, clicking on ‘Learn more’ goes to Google’s description of this new feature.

 

At YouTube, there is a SearchWiki video which better illustrates the new features in action.

 

As I mentioned the SEO world is anxiously awaiting to see how this new feature will affect rankings within the search results. Until then, we can enjoy customizing our search result pages.

 

Chris J. Politzki
Studio 119 Degrees